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Revolution's in the red

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It seems apt that a bookstore that features communist literature is turning to the proletariat for help. Revolution Books, a mainstay for two decades in the Cass Corridor near the campus of Wayne State University, faces eviction if it doesn’t come up with $3,000 in past due rent by Sept. 1.

Don’t blame landlord Robert Cobb. The late notices for the bookstore, which pays $550 a month in rent, have been piling up for a while now, and, let’s face it, this is still a capitalist society.

“Our landlord has really been very patient,” says Gary Gant, the store’s “manager.” The quote marks are necessary because Revolution is a nonprofit collective run by volunteers. But someone has to oversee things, and in this case it’s Gant, who earns a paycheck by working as a paralegal for the public interest Sugar Law Center (which shares office space with this rag).

What makes the store’s financial straits particularly poignant is that the cash crunch comes when Revolution’s message seems most needed.

“Post-Sept. 11, the powers that be have announced that a whole generation of young people are facing a future of warfare,” says Gant. By offering views outside the mainstream, Revolution offers literature that reflects “the whole view of what’s going on.”

In an urban area with large African-American and Arab-American populations, in particular, it seems there would be an audience for works criticizing the policies of George Bush, John Ashcroft et al. Dangerous policies is the way Gant describes them.

The call for help, so far, has elicited a heartening response, Gant reports. A number of local businesses, from restaurants to clothiers, have donated gift certificates and merchandise for an ongoing silent auction. And a benefit concert is planned for Saturday, Aug. 31, at The Old Miami on Cass. The lineup is still being nailed down, but so far performers include the bands Willing Dead and The Resisters with Bob the Singin’ Bass Player, as well as poets Semaj and Wardell Montgomery.

Curt Guyette is the Metro Times news editor. E-mail cguyette@metrotimes.com

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